On Tuesday afternoon, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School chess team played an exhibition match for the books.
Taking place on the 2:30 pm ferry ride from Woods Hole, the Vineyarders and Falmouth Academy Mariners had nearly 10 games going at once, before continuing play at the Copper Anchor in Vineyard Haven.
The exhibition match had been in the making for months. Back in November, Falmouth Academy coach Doug Jones reached out to MVRHS coach TJ Reap about organizing a match, but the idea of playing on the ferry was still relatively far-fetched. Juggling variables such as transportation, weather, school exams, and general availability, the duo were finally able to iron out specifics in late January. Somehow, four weeks later, the unique proposition became a reality.
Like the rest of his teammates, MVRHS sophomore Finn Robinson got a kick out of the whole thing. “I enjoyed playing on the boat,” he said. “The space and the scenery [were] nice, and it’s a good halfway point between Falmouth and the Island.” Junior Kestutis Biskis added, “It’s always nice to play new people over the board.”
Setting aside, the chess itself was not bad either, considering the players were potentially dealing with sea sickness, and had to put play on pause once the boat disembarked. Robinson stated, “The games were good. Exhibition games are nice to test new tactics in a tournament-like setting, against good players.” Coach Reap added, “Falmouth has a bunch of pretty good kids. We would have had all we could handle in a [tournament match].” At the Copper Wok, the Vineyarders had the chance to switch opponents, and even had the opportunity to challenge adult members of the Martha’s Vineyard Chess Club that Reap has organized.
The exhibition match serves as the most recent chapter in the growing story that is youth chess on-Island. Robinson commented, “Chess has been getting popular recently at MVRHS, and it’s cool that people are getting into the game.” This year, school administrators even had to block chess.com from the MVRHS wifi because too many students were playing in class.